By Daniel Heimpel
Last year, I took my longstanding class at U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, Journalism for Social Change (J4SC), online.
With the help of edX, a platform for Massive Open Online Classes, or MOOCs, we were able to teach thousands of students from around the globe how to produce solution-based journalism that drives social change.
Well, I am happy to announce that on January 19, the class is being offered again, this time with a broader focus on some of the biggest human rights issues facing the globe.
In August, we released a report that summarized the results of the first offering. Whether it was learning basic journalism skills, understanding how solution-based journalism can be an implement of social change or understanding complex policy issues, students who responded to a survey said that they had improved on all counts.
“I have learn[ed] what it takes to become a journalist,” wrote one student on the discussion board. “I have more respect for the work they do and what they do to put a story out there on paper for the public.”
Another wrote: “Earlier, I had an impression that journalism was meant to mirror exactly what is happening in the society, giving people a reflection of what they’re doing. This course has made me realize that there are always solutions … and writing about such stories can make journalism a tool for social change.”
But, the goal of the J4SC MOOC goes far beyond just learning about how journalism can drive social change. Students are encouraged to submit their stories for publication in The Chronicle of Social Change, and in so doing, hopefully impact public policy affecting vulnerable populations.
I am writing this post to now encourage you to sign up for the class.
Starting January 19, it will be self-paced, meaning you can move through the learning modules at your own pace. Throughout the five months that the course will be open, you will have an opportunity to share your story ideas with thousands of peers from around the world, and will hopefully end up with a published story.
This is a great opportunity for aspiring journalists to learn skills; for established journalists to go deeper in their reporting; and a chance for advocates and policy experts to become better at communicating issues in a way that resonates with the public.
I hope you join me on this journey.
You can sign up for the MOOC HERE. It is totally free.